After the announcement of her pregnancy, Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes speaks to The Offside Rule Exclusives about preparing to become a mum while planning for European domination with her team, writes Charlotte Duncker.
Emma Hayes is no stranger to a challenge.
After five years at Chelsea Ladies the team’s been tipped for European success and they’re already dominating in the Women’s Super League. But her biggest challenge is yet to come as the 41-year-old has announced she’s expecting twins.
“I’ve given my life to my career and I’ve put this off,” she told The Offside Rule Exclusives. “And I would have regretted it had I not had children.”
Chelsea are through to the last 16 of the Champions League but some days European domination isn’t all that’s on her mind.
She explained: “I‘ve been sick a lot and really sleepy. I’ve got beautiful staff and players around me who have been really supportive and understood that I haven’t been at my best. Sometimes I have been inconsistent in my performance. I haven’t wanted to talk I have just wanted to lay down on the couch.”
And she’s convinced that having children will make her excel as a coach.
“It’s been a challenge and I didn’t think it was going to happen so I think that I’m in a miracle to be in the position I’m in,” she said.
“I have discussed it with the players about how I want to become a mother. For me I feel I know I will feel more fulfilled and complete and I also think it will make me a better coach.”
Hayes has been given the full support of the Chelsea board and her players but she feels that support is lacking at national level, especially for mothers.
“When I think about how little maternal support the England national team have I think it’s absolutely disgraceful,” she said. “I’m not entirely sure that’s been addressed and it needs to be looked at.”
Becoming a mother might be her biggest non-football challenge but her biggest career challenge came this year when Chelsea player Eni Aluko spoke out about ex-England manager Mark Sampson’s racist remarks towards her.
“It was absolutely one of my biggest challenges,” she explained. “But, we dealt with what was one of the most trickiest time in my career and we came out of it the other side with everybody being a little more appreciative that everyone suffers one way or another.
“We need to be a lot more empathetic.”Embed from Getty Images
Following Sampson’s sacking Hayes found herself being linked with the England job but that’s not something she’s interested in.
“I think there’s more chance of me being in charge of a men’s professional team than being the England manager,” she said.
“I can’t say never but it doesn’t float my boat, international football.
“I always said I wanted to become a parent first before I took a job at a men’s club so when my children are a bit less drama for mummy if the right opportunity comes up, I wouldn’t be afraid to do it.
“I don’t see it happening anytime soon but can I see it happening in my lifetime once? Yeah. Either that or I’m going to go and be Prime Minister.”
Follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharDuncker
Launched in 2017, The Offside Rule Exclusives is our Webby-nominated monthly podcast hosted by Lynsey Hooper, Kait Borsay, and Hayley McQueen. It features in-depth interviews with some of the biggest names in football like Phil Neville, Jermaine Defoe, and Casey Stoney.